FROM THE POPE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 58CR-14-82] HONORABLE
WILLIAM M. PEARSON, JUDGE.
& Benca, by: Patrick J. Benca, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Vada Berger, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
R. BAKER, Associate Justice.
August 11, 2014, appellant, Rumaldo Rangel, entered a
negotiated change of plea to one count of possession with the
purpose to deliver methamphetamine. The circuit court
accepted the plea and sentenced Rangel to two years and an
additional term of three years' suspended imposition of
sentence. At the time of his plea, Rangel was not a
naturalized citizen of the United States.
November 20, 2015, Rangel filed a petition for writ of habeas
corpus asserting that he was required to be provided with
warnings regarding immigration and deportation pursuant to
Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356, 130 S.Ct. 1473
(2010). Rangel alleged that he was not provided these
warnings and therefore entitled to habeas relief. On June 14,
2016, the circuit court denied Rangel's petition. Rangel
timely appealed and presents one issue on appeal: the circuit
court erred in denying Rangel's petition for writ of
habeas corpus because Rangel was not given his
Padilla warnings regarding immigration and
deportation at his plea hearing.
circuit court's decision on a petition for writ of habeas
corpus will be upheld unless it is clearly erroneous.
Hobbs v. Gordon, 2014 Ark. 225, at 5, 434 S.W.3d
364, 367. A decision is clearly erroneous when, although
there is evidence to support it, the appellate court, after
reviewing the entire evidence, is left with the definite and
firm conviction that a mistake has been made. Id.
The writ of habeas corpus will be issued only when the
commitment is invalid on its face or the committing court
lacked jurisdiction. Mackey v. Lockhart, 307 Ark.
321, 322, 819 S.W.2d 702, 703-04 (1991) (citing Wallace
v. Willock, 301 Ark. 69, 781 S.W.2d 484 (1989)). Unless
a petitioner can show that the trial court lacked
jurisdiction or that the commitment was invalid on its face,
there is no basis for a finding that a writ of habeas corpus
should issue. Id.
these standards in mind, we turn to our law regarding
petitions for a writ of habeas corpus. "The writ of
habeas corpus shall be granted forthwith by any of the
officers enumerated in § 16-112-102(a) to any person who
shall apply for the writ by petition showing, by affidavit or
other evidence, probable cause to believe he or she is
detained without lawful authority." Ark. Code Ann.
§ 16-112-103 (a)(1)(Repl. 2016). Further, Ark. Code Ann.
§ 16-112-118 (b)(1)(B) provides:
(b)(1) If it appears that the prisoner is in custody by
virtue of process from any court legally constituted or
issued by any officer in the exercise of judicial proceedings
before him or her, the prisoner can only be discharged in one
(1) of the following cases:
(B) Where, though the original imprisonment was lawful, yet,
by some act, omission, or event which has taken place
afterward, the party has become entitled to his or her
with regard to a writ pertaining to the release of a
prisoner, Arkansas law is clear that a circuit court does not
have jurisdiction to release on a writ of habeas corpus a
prisoner not in custody in that court's jurisdiction.
Pardue v. State, 338 Ark. 606, 999 S.W.2d 198
(1999); Neely v. McCastlain, 2009 Ark. 189, at 7,
306 S.W.3d 424, 428. Additionally, pursuant to Ark. Code Ann.
§ 5-4-101, "'[s]uspension' or 'suspend
imposition of sentence' means a procedure in which a
defendant who pleads or is found guilty of an offense is
released by the court without pronouncement of sentence and
without supervision." In other words, SIS does not
include physical custody. Finally, we have explained that a
person on probation by definition is not in custody.
Reeves v. State, 339 Ark. 304, 310, 5 S.W.3d 41, 44
now to review the order at issue, the circuit court's
June 14, 2016 order denying Rangel's habeas petition,
which states in pertinent part, "the Court finds it has
no jurisdiction over this case since the defendant is not in
custody in the territorial jurisdiction of the court. . . .
The defendant's Petition for Habeas Corpus is denied with
prejudice." Rangel contends that the circuit court's
order is erroneous because he was not provided with the
Padilla warnings regarding deportation and remains
"aggrieved" by the SIS term and sentence and is
thus entitled to habeas relief. The State responds that
Rangel is not entitled to relief because he is not in
custody. We agree with the State. Here, on June 6, 2016, the
circuit court held a hearing on Rangel's petition. At the
hearing, the following colloquy occurred:
Defense Counsel: We are asking for the sentence part to be
vacated, but, you know, it's tricky because he's
already done his sentence. He's already been deported as
I have been informed.
The Prosecutor: Arkansas has laid out . . . a requirement to
be in custody on habeas corpus . . . so the defendant is ...